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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Survival Rates Similar for Medicaid, Privately Insured Children with Cancer

Survival rates among children with cancer are largely similar between those insured under Medicaid and those with private insurance, according to a new study from the Washington University in St. Louis – Brown School Public Health Programs.

[Photo: Dr. Kimberly Johnson]

Researchers studied 8,219 childhood cancer cases from National Cancer Institute cancer registries, which began charting insurance statistics in 2007. They found that children who were insured by Medicaid at diagnosis had similar five-year survival rates to those with private insurance.

Uninsured children had a slightly higher risk of death, although authors of the study said further study was needed to confirm and clarify the reasons.

Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance programs have healthcare access comparable to those with private insurance, but as of 2015, nearly four million children lacked any health insurance.

“Our results suggest that the type of insurance coverage does not impact the risk of death from cancer,” wrote the study’s senior author, Dr. Kimberly Johnson, associate professor at the Brown School.

“if our results are valid, then national or state healthcare policies that afford at least coverage with Medicaid for otherwise uninsured children may improve overall survival for children diagnosed with cancer.”

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